White sand beaches, crystal clear blue sea, beautiful reefs, and phenomenal weather; it’s no wonder why many people consider having a Maldives wedding. It truly is a barefoot paradise that offers plenty of options for the perfect destination wedding. From sunset cruise weddings to exchanging vows right on the beach, there is no doubt that a wedding in the Maldives will be unforgettable. Here are a few things that you should know before you save up for the big day.

The Legalities

A wedding in the Maldives between two foreign nationals is not legally binding. Even though the day is very much real, complete with a ceremony and the perfect beach wedding dress, it will not be recognized as legal when you get home. Most people who get married in the Maldives have a legal wedding at home, and the beautiful ceremony in the Maldives. This is the only way to have a Maldives wedding, but it doesn’t make it any less fantastic.

There is a big wedding industry in the Maldives islands for foreigners that want to have a wedding on a magnificent beach on a tropical island. In fact, many resorts offer wedding packages, most of which combine both the wedding and the honeymoon.

The Ceremony

Exchanging vows, rings, and loving glances will all happen at a Maldives wedding, but there are also other things to consider when thinking about your wedding ceremony. Like whether or not you want to add any Maldivian culture into it.

In the Maldives, a traditional wedding ceremony includes a Bodu Beru (drums) procession. This is a procession of around 20 drummers that play Bodu Beru dressed in traditional clothing, leading the happy couple down the aisle and to their wedding ceremony. It is topped off by having a local gazi (judge) preside over the ceremony, all of which is done in the local Divehi dialect. Some couples that go the traditional route also choose to wear traditional Maldivian clothing.

Couples can also, of course, have a western wedding and skip all of the Maldives cultural aspects. Still, many Maldives resorts that offer wedding packages due include the bodu beru drummers, as it is a great way to remind both the couple and their wedding guests that it is, after all, a destination wedding.

The Location

The beach is the most popular place for a wedding in the Maldives, and why wouldn’t it be. The Maldives is home to some of the best beaches in the world, making it a dream spot for a destination wedding. Especially considering its exceptional backdrop of glistening waters and swaying palm trees. Most beach weddings will not only have the ceremony on the beach, but also the reception, complete with flowers, music, and excellent food.

It is also possible to have a Maldives wedding in a location other than on the beach. You can have it on a traditional dhoni or luxurious yacht in the sea, on an isolated sandbar far from everything else in the world, on a rooftop terrace at sunset, or at the edge of a pool. You can also have a wedding in one of the Maldives top restaurants, like the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, or Botanica Restaurant.

The Cost

A wedding can be an expensive ordeal, what with the attire, the flowers, the photographer, hair and makeup expenses, the cake, the ceremony, and the reception. In fact, according to the business insider, the average cost of a wedding in the US is $33,391. This amount is doubled if you get hitched in Manhattan. This price does not include the honeymoon, which, according to Forbes, is an additional $4,000, if not more.

Having a wedding in the Maldives is substantially cheaper and will save couples a lot of money. A wedding package in the Maldives is anywhere from $550 to $4,000. Add in the flights and it is still less than $10,000. The best part is that you don’t have to fork out even more for the honeymoon, as the wedding and honeymoon are all rolled up into one package deal. The entire ordeal –wedding and honeymoon- could end up being just $3,500, making a Maldives wedding quite an affordable dream.

Maldives resorts that offer wedding packages include the flowers, the makeup, the cake, the photography, and the venue. Even the most basic packages include these things. You can also splurge and get add-ons, like bodu beru players, a bottle of champagne, alter decorations, a romantic sunset cruise, and a 60-minute relaxing couples massage, among other things. Let’s not forget that your Maldives honeymoon package will start as soon as you say ‘I do’.

There are many resorts in the Maldives that offer wedding packages, but these are the best in the bunch.